FISHING -- Sometimes it's healthy to assess our Eastern Washington bounty from the perspective of Western Washington anglers. Here's a few out-takes from the most recent fishing column by Wayne Kruse of the Daily (Everett) Herald:
"It's too bad that winter tends to be so cold in the Columbia Basin, because some of the best fishing opportunity of the year is available now... However, you can catch beaucoup steelhead on the Columbia, between Pateros and Bridgeport; triploid rainbow to 20-plus pounds above Chief Joseph Dam, and double-digit Mackinaw in Lake Chelan. That might be a trifecta worth freezing your fern.
"One of the traditional upper-Columbia steelhead drifts is "the rocks," below the mouth of the Methow. Put your boat in at Pateros, rig with float and jig, and drift along the edge of the rocky shelves below town.
"Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service in Chelan said Mack's Glo-Getter jigs in pink and orange, or eighth-ounce Worden's Maxi-Jigs in Calypso, tipped with red-cured shrimp, should do the job. Jones said 10- to 15-fish days have not been that unusual.
Rod Hammons of R&R Guide Service in Brewster (509-689-2849) said the excellent steelhead run this year has featured the largest fish in seven or eight years. "They actually look like steelhead instead of trout," Hammons said.
"Winter is big-fish time on Lake Chelan, Jones told Kruse, citing catches recently of Mackinaw to the high teens.
"While the good ol' days of triploid rainbow trout fishing in Rufus Woods Reservoir have dimmed, and it's a lot more work now to nail a limit or find one of the big guys, it's still worth a traditional winter shot," Kruse reported.
"Jones suggests casting black or green eighth-ounce Roostertails to shoreline points and rock structure, or run up to the net pens and fish bait.
"Jones said to remember that when fishing bait for the trips, the first two fish landed are your limit, whether you release them or not. If fishing artificials, you can catch and release.
Jones is glad to answer fishing questions at (866) 360-1523.